Roanoke Valley Expected to See Tourism Spike in 2013 - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Roanoke Valley Expected to See Tourism Spike in 2013

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The Star City is expecting to see a spike in tourism in 2013.

Virginia's Blue Ridge is conducting tourism training sessions for local businesses and city employees.

So far the training sessions have seen a huge turnout, with around 70 people still on a waiting list.

With the growth of Roanoke-based events like the Blue Ridge Marathon and the re-opening of Center in the Square, tourism director Landon Howard says he is anticipating a big year for the Roanoke Valley.

"With the opening of Center in the Square with all of its new renovations and new product offerings, people are going to come in and see it and say, 'Wow, this is cool,'" he said. "They're going to go back and invite their neighbors and friends to experience what's here as well."

Howard estimates visitors generate more than $700 million of direct spending each year in the Roanoke Valley, and says he expects that number to grow in 2013.